Heart Surgery
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Heart Surgery

Heart Surgery What Is Heart Surgery?

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Four surgeons operating on a patient in an operating room Heart surgery is done to correct problems with the heart. Many heart surgeries are done each year in the United States for various heart problems.

Heart surgery is used for both children and adults. This article discusses heart surgery for adults. For more information about heart surgery for children, go to the Health Topics articles about congenital heart defects, holes in the heart, and tetralogy of Fallot.

The most common type of heart surgery for adults is coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). During CABG, a healthy artery or vein from the body is connected, or grafted, to a blocked coronary (heart) artery.

The grafted artery or vein bypasses (that is, goes around) the blocked portion of the coronary artery. This creates a new path for oxygen-rich blood to flow to the heart muscle. CABG can relieve chest pain and may lower your risk of having a heart attack.

Doctors also use heart surgery to:

  • Repair or replace heart valves, which control blood flow through the heart
  • Repair abnormal or damaged structures in the heart
  • Implant medical devices that help control the heartbeat or support heart function and blood flow
  • Replace a damaged heart with a healthy heart from a donor

The results of heart surgery in adults often are excellent. Heart surgery can reduce symptoms, improve quality of life, and improve the chances of survival.

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